Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bring it on, December

When I came back from SF before Thanksgiving, I had no more work travel slated until sometime in the new year. The prospect of getting back into a routine and actually seeing the inside of a gym was exciting to me. Not to mention all the quality time I'd get to spend with my bed.

But then last week I got put back in the line up for travel to Alaska for public meetings. Fairbanks, to be exact. In mid-December. Regardless of the fact that they have been in a record cold snap, with air temperatures around -36 degrees, I'm pretty excited. As long as I have enough layers, I don't mind the cold. And I'll fly in on a Sunday, since it takes so long to get there, and a coworker and I are looking at doing a Northern Lights tour.

After that, I land for about 24 hours before I'm back at the airport to go to DC. Due to cheaper flights home, I will be working from our DC office for a week before taking the train up to Philly. After another week in Philly, I'll be back in Denver for the foreseeable future.

So I've set up all my Christmas decorations and am enjoying them thoroughly for the next two weeks. Even my desk is all decked out, as usual, with my 8 inch Christmas tree. Between all the travel, I'm managing to sneak in a weekend of skiing in Steamboat, A Christmas Carol at Ford's Theatre, a night of lights at the Denver Botanic Gardens, and even a few of the new movies coming out (next up: The Descendants). Bring it on, December.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Can I be done with work yet?

I like playing host. Not too many people come over to my apartment, so its always nice to have more than just me there.

My parents arrive tomorrow and will be staying with me for a night before we pick up Al and head up into Breck for a long weekend. This weekend was spent mostly prepping for their arrival and for Thanksgiving in general. While I vacuum fairly regularly, I learned this weekend that I apparently have a habit of dusting my living room far more often than I dust my bedroom. I also picked up (ok, hid) those little pesky piles that seem to crop up out of nowhere. One went under the bed while another found its way into my junk drawer. Its not so much cleaning as it is rearranging. But my apartment has never been cleaner.

In an effort to be an adult, I also had a delightful time spending money at Bed, Bath, and Beyond (a nice little Saturday). I bought another set of matching towels so that my parents won't have to use the old sets I had from freshman year in college - one of which is yellow with stains of green from when I accidentally washed it with my Eagles beach towel. And I finally bought a pie server (always forgotten until needed) and a pie crust cover (to use in place of darn tin foil) as splurges. Is this adulthood? Getting excited over improved domesticity?

Anyhow, I'm excited to get out of work today, buy some firewood for the fireplace (and pray its cold enough to burn while they're in town), do a final load of laundry and then wait impatiently for their arrival.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A mediocre month of mediocracy

My month of meritocracy is, well, mediocre. My first week started out great. I worked out in hotel rooms, spun during lunch, and had that "good hurt" pretty much every day. And my running came back quickly - I was feeling good with three miles after only a week, which was encouraging.

And then work travel started up again. I had an AMAZING work trip to Oregon Caves. It is absolutely beautiful. Its a fairly remote park, and I can't wait to get back. After coming back late on a Wednesday, running around all weekend, and then leaving early Monday for Arches, my 200 calories per day had pretty much fallen by the wayside. Its hard. I knew that, but in order to stave off sickness, I have constantly chosen sleep over exercise.

This is my last intense week of travel for the foreseeable future. My trip to Alaska was thwarted (boo!!!), but that means I will have a full three weeks before I head to DC en route to Philly for Christmas. A few scattered trips are planned for the winter - another voyage to Arches, one back to Muir Woods (my current locale) in March and a little bit of Lake Meredith thrown in there as well. For fun, I'll be planning long weekends in the mountains and a jaunt back to DC for the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in March. Its far easier for me to dedicate time to exercise if there is a scary race at the end of the tunnel.

But I digress. I'm getting fat. Fatter than I've ever eclipsed before. I've found that as my success at work grows, so does my waistline. Of course, normally when I am complaining about my pant size, its as I'm shoving a burger and fries into my mouth while on a work trip. Gee, why can't I lose weight? Its not a complicated equation.

I can't imagine how actual adults with families and responsibilities and work travel fit in exercise. I'm young without any other real responsibilities (kids, husband, PTA, etc) and already complain its too hard. How everyone isn't 4 million pounds, I'll never understand. It's surely the path I am on!

In any event. Lack of self-control for food, a desire to follow a training plan, and a realization that I don't want diabetes by the time I'm thirty has resulted in one conclusion: endurance sports. Usually each year I pick something somewhat difficult (first tri, move to denver, half marathon) and do it. This year's plan had been to do a half ironman (still on the list), but since I'm buying a better bike (will probably be worth more than my Echo), I have also decided to do my first century ride in the spring:

I'm pretty stoked. So between the winter half, spring century, and fall half IM, here's hoping that by this time next year, I'll be complaining about needing to buy a whole new wardrobe because I'm just too darn small (we all can dream, right??).

Oh. And completely unrelated, I started reading In Cold Blood on the same day that the murders happened (November 15). It kind of freaked me out.

Why are you still reading this? Get up off that computer chair and exercise so you don't turn out like me!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

People Actually Say That

Today I was told "Your reputation precedes you." I didn't think that happened outside of cliche movie lines.

Thankfully, it was a compliment and not "oh no, i know who YOU are, your reputation for forgetting to pack pants precedes you".

In the midst of crazy travel and work deliverables, I have been asked to be on a Berger-wide committee for Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability. Essentially, we've never had a committee like this before, so we all have no clue what we're doing (hooray!). The committee is broken into subcommittees: Ethics, Environment, and Equity. Why Rudi, you might be saying, you MUST have been asked to be on the Environment subcommittee, right? I mean, isn't that what you do day in and day out? Why yes, faithful reader, that IS what I do for a living. However, I'm heading up the Equity subcommittee because, well, no one else wanted to do it.

While I was originally bummed (I had thought I was being asked to do the environmental piece, too, and was getting all sorts of great ideas), I still think this will be interesting. Essentially we have to research other corporate policies, review our own equity breakdown, and then make recommendations to people in the company that matter. It's daunting but kind of exciting. I'm working on it with one of my bosses in Denver, but she is currently on maternity leave and I don't want her to feel like she should be spending her baby time on this! I'm hoping to use her to bounce ideas off of and to review what I pull together, but I'm more than happy to shoulder the load.

So that was my exciting news of the day, a day I spent on the phone from 9:30 - 3:45. I had never had so many calls run back to back all in one day! But the day started off with an email from my Big Big Boss (VP of my division) saying how proud she was of the good work I've been doing. So during a week where I was that person loudly running a conference call from the airport, it was was nice to get positive feedback!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Yesterday I got to spend all day hanging around here. I love my job.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Two back to back posts on consecutive days? What is this madness!

For the second week in a row, I went spinning during lunch and managed three spinning classes overall this week. BAM. Hey there, gym, I'm back! More importantly, however, is that I finally put on my big girl pants (more accurately, my new bike shorts) and tried the clip shoes my coworker gave me a few months ago that have been taunting me from the depths of my closet for months.

It took a little getting used to, but I definitely like them. I felt like my calves were working harder, and I had to remind myself to pull up, not just push down on the pedal. They helped me get my rpm's up higher during the speed work, but I constantly had to watch my form and positioning. Different parts of my body have hurt each morning as I wake up, but in that good "i'm getting strong again" way. Since my travel schedule kicks up again next week, I plotted the hotels I'm staying to see if they had gyms and then planned accordingly from now through the 17th.

In non-workout news, I saw the movie Anonymous last night and LOVED it. Its been pretty under the radar but has an amazing British cast (and a few Harry Potter characters, as always) and I thought the story was great. Its based on the old theory that Shakespeare was just a frontman for someone else who was actually doing the writing and they do a great job of pleading their case. I may have enjoyed it more than the regular audience member, though, since I just got to see the Tower, the Globe, and all the different facts about the succession from Queen Elizabeth to James I when I was in Scotland and London. Allison told me a reviewer said it was "hard to follow" so I went into the theater making sure to try my best to remember names and associations, which helped, but overall there weren't that many characters to keep track of. I would definitely recommend it!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

November Challenge

As my Dad has gently reminded me ("hey, I heard a rumor you used to write a blog!"), I have still been remiss in posting. This has been my down week - in Denver for a full ten days before I head off on my next work trip. Since I have been back from Europe, I have been absolutely terrible with my eating and have become estranged from my gym. In November, that ends.

A coworker occasionally does what she calls her "Quest for Greatness" - a month long swimming yardage challenge that is pretty ridiculous. I have taken that concept and created my own Quest for Mediocrity. I'm not setting my sights too high.

Each and every day in November I will burn 200 calories. This seems simple enough. On days I actually make it to the gym, I easily burn 400-500. But that's not where my trouble has been. My trouble has been with all the traveling where its just enough to throw myself into pjs and hit the hay after long days of meetings. Those are the days I am looking to turn around with this challenge. And on those days, 200 cals is just enough to be a challenge but still feasible.

For hotels where its not safe to run outside (according to my mom, that would be all of them) and there is no gym, a coworker has given me her "hotel workout" - a mash up of different circuit training exercises I can do within the confines of my own hotel room at the beginning or end of a long day. Its a 30 minute workout chock full of planks, rows, and mountain climbers, so 200 calories should be just about right.

So far I'm 2/2 in November - 6am spinning on Tuesday (575 cals) and my second run in Katie's "get your butt back to 6 miles" training plan (2 miles, 308 cals). On the agenda for today is swimming during lunch. I am planning on picking one day each week to post my workouts to this blog to keep myself accountable.

Its been nice to be home for a full week and get a lot of things done that I'd been putting off - I'm actually getting a haircut on Saturday (once a year, whether I need it or not), uploaded the photo for my ski pass, ordered new contacts and I might (might) even take my car to the mechanic. Maybe. Its been really nice to have a reasonable workload.